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Archive for April, 2011

Thoughts on the Day Two of the NFL Draft

The Patriots were certainly active on day two of the NFL draft. Based on my twitter page reaction, the vast majority of Patriots nation is frustrated and I believe with good reason. Yes, the team made some solid moves, but the biggest need of outside linebacker has still not been addressed.

Do not give up hope though, Patriots nation. Belichick has picked up a few great college prospects. Here are the draft selections the Patriots made on day two of the NFL draft (team transactions included) -

Round 2

  • No. 33 overall pick — The Patriots selected Ras-I Dowling, DB, Virginia – An interesting prospect. Definitely had many analysts and fans scratching their heads. Dowling is a talented defensive back that has struggled with injuries. If he can stay healthy, he could add a dynamic playmaking ability to the defense. The biggest problem I have with this selection is I question the secondary already on the roster, because this selection makes me believe someone is being cut or traded (when the league year resumes).
  • No. 56 overall pick — The Patriots selected Shane Vereen, RB, California – This was my favorite pick of day two. Vereen is a guy who has a lot of connections to New England. Vereen is a great addition to the running back core. I will certainly have more on him after draft weekend concludes.
  • No. 60 overall pick — The Patriots traded the 60th overall pick to the Houston Texans for selection No. 73 (LSU RB Stevan Ridley) and a fifth round selection (No. 138 overall) – At this point, I was frustrated because the Patriots had hat yet to address the defensive front seven.

Round 3

  • No. 73 overall pick — The Patriots selected Louisiana State University running back Stevan Ridley. The Patriots acquired this pick after a trade with Houston – By far the biggest head scratcher this draft. Ridley is a great runner between the tackles, but his skill set is practice squad worthy at best. Certainly does not speak well for Sammy Morris, Fred Taylor, or even Kevin Faulk.
  • No. 74 overall pick — The Patriots selected Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett. – I am not a big fan of Mallet, but he is a very talented QB. ESPN’s Adam Schefter also reported that Mallet was the highest ranked QuarterBack in the entire draft.
  • No. 92 overall pick — The Patriots traded this pick to the Oakland Raiders along with their fourth round pick (No. 125 overall) for the Raiders’ seventh rounder (No. 219 overall) and their 2012 second rounder. – I am not surprised by this move what so ever. What concerns me, is yet again the Patriots have multiple picks in the first couple of rounds next year (like they do every year) and they have not maximized them. This pick was especially frustrating to many people because the team has still not taken a player in the front seven.

 

Analysis:

Personally, day two was a tough day to digest mentally. I feel I have more questions than answers. Does Belichick believe they can generate more of a pass rush in the upcoming season or does he feel the position is overrated? Is there a player on the team or in free agency he believes in? However, there is really no way to judge these rookies until they are on the field. Never the less, Patriots fans will be looking forward to day three to address the defensive concerns. How do you feel about the draft so far? Let me know by leaving a comment below and share your opinion!

- Like what you have read on the site? Stay in touch with me on Twitter @PatriotsHaven! Whether you want Patriots updates in an instant or just talk about the team, be sure to look me up!


Patriots Options for Day Two

Going into day two of this NFL draft, there are still a lot of quality prospects for the Patriots to select. While the majority of Patriots Nation believes the first round was not ideal for the team, there are still plenty of weapons to be had in rounds two and three.

First and foremost, the Patriots must upgrade their defensive front seven. They need an impact outside linebacker and an upgrade at the defensive end position. I also believe the Pats could add offensive weapons such as a running back or wide receiver. Here are a few prospects the team could target during day two.

 

Outside Linebacker-

Justin Houston (Georgia) – Probably the best option for the Pats at this position. Reports of past Marijuana use may turn some teams off but, that has not stopped the Patriots in the past (i.e Aaron Hernandez). 

Brooks Reed (Arizona) – A relentless conversion defensive end with pass rushing ability. He could transition well to the Patriots 3 – 4 system.

Akeem Ayers (UCLA) – Even though Ayers does not seem to fit in the Patriots defense, he still has a lot to offer at the outside linebacker position. He is a playmaker, strong against the run, and has shown the ability rush the passer.

Dantay Moch (Nevada) – This is a big stretch. Moch is only  6’1 and 248 pounds, so he is not the ideal size what so ever. However, he ran a 4.44 40 yard dash at the NFL Combine. He has the ability to get after the passer and is extremely athletic. He could be an intriguing pick for the team.

 

Defensive Linemen-

Da’Quan Bowers (Clemson) – At this point, Bowers comes down to value. Obviously, he did not check out 100 percent medically, but what do the Patriots think of him? He might not be a perfect fit, but he was at one time the top overall prospect in this draft class. At some point, he has to be in the discussion, right?

Allen Bailey (Miami) – An athletic prospect, who offers incredible versatility. He can play across the defensive line and potentially stand up as well.

Kenrick Ellis (Hampton) – Ellis is an absolute monster, measured at over 6 feet and 340 pounds, but still athletic for his size. Some minor character concerns have dropped his stock a little but, he could easily play defensive end in the patriots defense. He reminds me a lot of Vince Wilfork and he would have a great veteran to tutor him.

 

Running Backs-

Mikel LeShoure (Illinois) – LeShoure is a player that really interests me. if the Patriots can pull the trigger on this guy mid way through the second round, it would be a great pick. He has all the qualities of an every down running back but still needs some overall development.

Ryan Williams (Virginia Tech)– Williams could be a great Patriot. He would compliment Ben Jarvis Green – Ellis well, as well as being a dynamic playmaker. He reminds me of DeAngelo Williams from Carolina. He can has everything teams look for in a college running back but has had minor injury concerns that have hurt is value.

DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma) – Murray is a typical Patriots player. He is a jack – of – all- trades type of player that can contribute in many ways. He can play running back, slot receiver, and help on returns. The only knock on Murray is his trouble with injuries and he is strictly a committee guy.

 

Wide Receivers-

Leonard Hankerson (Miami) – Hankerson became one of the most productive wideouts in college football this past season. He has great size, route running and playmaking ability. He lacks elite speed, but can offer a lot to a football team. His overall skill set, along with solid upside, makes him a great pick – up  in either the second or early third round.

Torrey Smith (Maryland) – Smith has elite speed and could develop into a solid receiver that can stretch a defense.  I love his leadership qualities, work ethic, and willingness to run block. He will need to work on maintaining speed throughout his cuts and ability to catch the ball in traffic. Never the less, he most certainly is a quality pick in the second round and could be the most complete receiver.

Randall Cobb (Kentucky) -  Forget Cobb as a receiver, just now him as an offensive weapon. He does not have the capability to be a full time running back and is not polished enough to be a wide receiver. He is, however, a serious play maker. He can be utilized in a change of pace “scat back” role or even be placed in the slot. Cobb also is a deadly return man with good speed and athleticism. I believe he has that home – run type ability. He displays great vision and cut back ability when carrying the ball. Seems like a Belichick type player.

- Like what you have read on the site? Stay in touch with me on Twitter @PatriotsHaven! Whether you want Patriots updates in an instant or just talk about the team, be sure to look me up!

Patriots Trade 28th Pick to the Saints

The Patriots do what the patriots do best. Find incredible value for a draft pick and maximize it. New England traded the 28th overall pick in the first round tot he New Orleans Saints for a 2012 first round draft pick and a 2011 2nd round pick. Here is how the trade worked out:

Saints get –

2011 28th overall pick (Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama)

Patriots get –

2012 1st round draft pick

2011 2nd round pick (56 overall)

Analysis:

I cannot say I am shocked by the Patriots trading the 28th pick, but I am certainly disappointed. I definitely believe they got a steal in terms of value from the Saints. They get the 24th selection in day two of the draft and yet again have two first round draft picks for next season. At some point though, don’t you have to take players to improve the team? At the end of day one, sure the Patriots got a future left tackle, but can he contribute immediately? I am hoping the Patriots can make strong contributions to their defense in day two of the NFL draft.

- Like what you have read on the site? Stay in touch with me on Twitter @PatriotsHaven! Whether you want Patriots updates in an instant or just talk about the team, be sure to look me up!

Player Bio: Nate Solder

Name: Nate Solder

Position: Offensive Tackle

School: Colorado

Selected: Round 1, Pick 17

Height: 6’8

Weight: 319

Strengths:

  • Superior Frame
  • Solid Frame
  • Very strong Mechanically
  • Excellent use of hands

Weaknesses:

  • Needs to Bulk up, very skinny frame
  • May not be able to contribute to the Patriots immediately
  • Cannot get a very strong push on bigger defenders

Notes: Solder is an absolute monster. He has a superior frame with great footwork and agility to take on defenders. While he won’t overpower many defenders, he uses his hands and positions himself well against opposing players. He is very sound fundamentally and does a great job in space. There was not much separation between lineman coming into the draft evaluation process but, Soldier’s terrific Senior Bowl moved him to the head of the pack.

Analysis: Solder is a solid pick for the patriots. I must admit, I was shocked that the patriots passed on Cameron Jordan, the defensive end from California. I had Solder as my highest rated offensive lineman in this class. Protecting Tom Brady is priority one and Solder has the tools to be that guy. Pairing Vollmer and Solder will make the Patriots offensive line very strong for the next several years.

The biggest downside of taking Solder is I am not sure what he can offer immediately. He definitely needs to bulk up because he has a skinny frame. Dante Scarnecchia will need to spend some time with him, but he definitely has amazing potential. I have no doubt Solder is a solid prospect and could  be a great tackle. This could also shed light on Matt Light’s future with the Patriots as he is an unrestricted free agent.

 

Final NFL Mock Draft

2011 NFL Mock Draft

1) Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton, QB, Auburn

2) Denver Broncos: Von Miller, DE/OLB, Texas A & M

3) Buffalo Bills: Marcel Dareus, DT, Alabama

4) Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green, WR, Georgia

5) Arizona Cardinals: Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU

6) Cleveland Browns: Julio Jones, WR, Alabama

7) San Francisco 49ers: Blaine Gabbert, QB, Missouri

8 ) Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn

9) Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith, OT, USC

10) Washington Redskins: Robert Quinn, DE/OLB, UNC

11) Houston Texans: Aldon Smith, DE/OLB, Missouri

12) Minnesota Vikings: Da’Quan Bowers, DE/OLB, Clemson

13) Detroit Lions: Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska

14) St. Louis Rams: J.J. Watt., Wisconsin

15) Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey, OL, Florida

16) Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan, DE/OLB, Purdue

17) New England Patriots: Cameron Jordan, DE, California

18) San Diego Chargers: Muhammed Wilkerson, DE, Temple

19) New York Giants: Gabe Carimi, G, Wisconsin

20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa

21) Kansas City Chiefs: Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

22) Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

23) Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith, CB, Colorado

24) New Orleans Saints: Corey Liuget, DL, Illinois

25) Seattle Seahawks: Jake Locker, QB, Washington

26) Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris, CB, Miami

27) Atlanta Falcons: Kyle Rudolph, TE, Notre Dame

28) New England Patriots: Danny Watkins, G, Baylor

29) Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State

30) New York Jets: Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

31) Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

32) Green Bay Packers: Brooks Reed, DE/OLB, Arizona

33) New England Patriots: Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama

** For the record, expect the Patriots to trade both 28 & 33 for later or future selections**

There is a very good chance that New England trades both 28 and 33 back for tomorrows action. At the 17th pick, I could see the team moving up, moving down, or staying put. Regardless, I only expect them to make one selection in day one and let QB needy teams pay ransom to get their man at the end of the first round.

- Like what you have read on the site? Stay in touch with me on Twitter @DerekHavens! Whether you want Patriots updates in an instant or just talk about the team, be sure to look me up!

 

Draft Reminder

With the NFL draft kicking off tonight, I wanted to remind Patriots Nation of the draft schedule and the teams draft selections. Tonight’s primetime event begins at 8:00 p.m. ET until the first round concludes. On Friday, the second and third rounds will begin at 6:00 p.m. ET. The final rounds, four through seven, will be held Saturday, April 30 at 12:00 p.m. ET.

 

The Patriots are estimating that the 17th pick of the first round will come at approximately 9:50 p.m. ET on Thursday. The 28th pick is estimated to be around 11 p.m. ET.

2011 Patriots Draft Picks

1st Round – #17 (OAK – Richard Seymour)

1st Round – #28

2nd Round – #33 (CAR – 2010 3rd Round)

2nd Round – #60

3rd Round – #74 (Min – Randy Moss)

3rd Round – #92

4th Round – #125

5th Round – #159

6th Round – #193 (NO – David Thomas)

I will be doing a comprehensive player profile on each of the teams draft selections throughout the weekend. Be sure to follow me on twitter for updates and content.

 

Full NFL Mock Draft

2011 NFL Mock Draft

1) Carolina Panthers: Cam Newton

2) Denver Broncos: Marcel Dareus

3) Buffalo Bills: Von Miller

4) Cincinnati Bengals: AJ Green

5) Arizona Cardinals: Blaine Gabbert

6) Cleveland Browns: Julio Jones

7) San Francisco 49ers: Patrick Peterson

8 ) Tennessee Titans: Nick Fairley

9) Dallas Cowboys: Tyron Smith

10) Washington Redskins: Robert Quinn

11) Houston Texans: JJ Watt

12) Minnesota Vikings: Da’Quan Bowers

13) Detroit Lions: Prince Amukamara

14) St. Louis Rams: Aldon Smith

15) Miami Dolphins: Mike Pouncey

16) Jacksonville Jaguars: Ryan Kerrigan

17) New England Patriots: Cam Jordan

18) San Diego Chargers: Muhammed Wilkerson

19) New York Giants: Gabe Carimi

20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Adrian Clayborn

21) Kansas City Chiefs: Akeem Ayers

22) Indianapolis Colts: Anthony Castonzo

23) Philadelphia Eagles: Jimmy Smith

24) New Orleans Saints: Corey Liuget

25) Seattle Seahawks: Jake Locker

26) Baltimore Ravens: Brandon Harris

27) Atlanta Falcons: Cameron Heryward

28) New England Patriots: Danny Watkins

29) Chicago Bears: Derek Sherrod

30) New York Jets: Phil Taylor

31) Pittsburgh Steelers: Aaron Williams

32) Green Bay Packers: Brooks Reed

33) New England Patriots: Mark Ingram

- Like what you have read on the site? Stay in touch with me on Twitter @DerekHavens! Whether you want Patriots updates in an instant or just talk about the team, be sure to look me up!

2011 NFL Draft Journal

- An NFL record 25 players set to attend the draft in New York on Thursday, April 28th. I find it incredible that a record 25 players would come to the NFL draft with the unsettled labor situation. Granted, Judge Susan Nelson did lift the lockout but, the NFLPA did rumor to ask players to avoid the NFL’s draft day event. Never the less, here is the full list of players who will attend this year’s draft:

- If any of you caught the “Brady 6″ special on ESPN two weeks ago, it was pure TV gold. However, I thought it was very entertaining how ESPN went from this special to their special draft show. Ironically, they opened with if the Patriots needed to draft a quarterback in round one. This of course, stemmed from the reports Washington QB Jake Locker visited with the Patriots this week. Please do not read into this. This is pure smoke and mirrors. Who wants to trade up to 17 and snag Locker? That’s what BB’s doing here

- Da’ Quan Bowers Knee has been the topic of conversation between draft analysts the last few days. Bowers, could make one of the most precipitous drops the NFL draft has seen in years. Once deemed the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, he now might be fortunate to be selected in the late first round. With the reported knee injury more of a long term concern, most teams could shy away. But, should the Patriots be one of them? A talent like Bowers might be worth the risk if he falls into their lap later into the draft.

- Cam Newton is one of my favorite prospects in this years draft. I know a lot of people will disagree with me about this, but i love this kid. He is an unbelievable talent and just plain wins. However, this lockout could really hurt his pro potential. Not only him though, but many other prospects coming into the NFL this year. If this lockout continues, these rookies will not have the playbook for more than a few weeks, how can we expect the majority of them to succeed?

- Mark Ingram is another prospect I seem to like more than other Patriots fans. But I am curious, is this because we might have to draft him early in the first round? There are a lot of reports that Ingram could fall late into the first round. Personally, I feel if the Miami Dolphins pass, he could be there at pick 28 or possibly at 33. Now, if the Patriots were to keep either one of those picks and they address there outside linebacker pick earlier, would this pick be more appealing? I think Ingram could be a great fit in New England. But then again, there could be other running back targets later in the draft.

- Last week, I had an exclusive interview with Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed. He could be an option for the Patriots later into the first round or early into the second. Reed is transitioning from defensive end in college to most likely 3 – 4 outside linebacker. Based on our conversation, I feel confident he can make that transition. However, he could be getting pushed up a little to high by some draft analysts. I would like to see Reed on the Patriots team, but no earlier than our late first round pick.

- The lack of consensus in this years NFL Draft is incredible. Everyone has an idea of the prospects that will go in the first round, but now in a specific order. Last year, the top of the draft was much easier to predict and this year will certainly prove to be “mock draft busters”. While this may not be ideal Mel kiper Jr. or Todd McShay and company, it will offer a high level of excitement for fans.

- There are plenty of rumors surrounding the Patriots draft selections. Sure, the idea of the team trading down is not surprising at all. Especially because even though this draft is not made up of elite players, there are still plenty of solid prospects in the mid rounds. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Monday afternoon the Patriots are among the teams open to trading up if the right player is available. But don’t get carried away. There is still three days away from the draft and Belichick is unpredictable. If I were a betting man, I would not expect the Patriots to stay at the current draft position they were slotted too.

- Like what you have read on the site? Stay in touch with me on Twitter @DerekHavens! Whether you want Patriots updates in an instant or just talk about the team, be sure to look me up!


25 Players Set to Attend the NFL Draft

An NFL record 25 players set to attend the draft in New York on Thursday, April 28th. I find it incredible that a record 25 players would come to the NFL draft with the unsettled labor situation. Granted, judge Susan Nelson did lift the lockout but, the NFLPA did rumor to ask players to avoid the NFL’s draft day event. Never the less, here is the full list of players who will attend this year’s draft:

• Nebraska: Cornerback – Prince Amukamara
• UCLA: Linebacker –  Akeem Ayers
• Iowa: Defensive End – Adrian Clayborn
• Kentucky: Wide Receiver – Randall Cobb
• Alabama: Defensive Tackle – Marcell Dareus
• Auburn: Defensive Tackle – Nick Fairley
• Missouri: QuarterBack Blaine Gabbert
• Georgia: Wide Receiver – A.J. Green
• Boston College: Linebacker – Mark Herzlich
• Alabama: Running Back – Mark Ingram
• California: Defensive End – Cameron Jordan
• Alabama: Wide Receiver – Julio Jones
• Purdue: Defensive End – Ryan Kerrigan
• Illinois: Defensive End – Corey Liuget
• Texas A&M: Linebacker – Von Miller
• UCLA: Safety – Rahim Moore
• Auburn: QuarterBack – Cam Newton
• LSU: CornerBack – Patrick Peterson
• Florida: Offensive Lineman – Mike Pouncey
• Missouri: Defensive End – Aldon Smith
• USC: Offensive Tackle- Tyron Smith
• Baylor: Defensive Tackle – Phil Taylor
• Baylor: Guard – Danny Watkins
• Wisconsin: Defensive End – J.J. Watt
• Virginia Tech: Running Back – Ryan Williams

- Like what you have read on the site? Stay in touch with me on Twitter @DerekHavens! Whether you want Patriots updates in an instant or just talk about the team, be sure to look me up!

2011 Patriots Mock Draft

Here is my 2011 Patriots only mock draft (four rounds):

17) Cameron Jordan, DE, California – Cameron Jordan is an intriguing prospect for the Patriots at 17. He plays with an exceptional first step and pursuit of the ball carrier. He is an absolute force in the backfield and possesses elite tackling ability. Jordan is scheme diverse, plays well with his hands, and has a great motor. If the Patriots go this route, Jordan would be a fantastic fit offering a versatile new addition to the defense.

28) Danny Watkins, OL, Baylor - Watkins might be classified as a “late bloomer”, but has the strength and athleticism to play at the next level. The soon to be 26 year old prospect projects to be a quality starting guard in the NFL. He plays with terrific balance and has the foot quickness to hold in pass protection. He engages defenders very well with his hands and maintains a stout presence when blocking. He could be a starter from day one and has a tremendously high upside.

33) Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona - Brooks Reed has been rocketing up NFL teams draft boards for months. Once labeled as a third to forth round prospect, will now be taken in the late first two early second round. The Patriots continue to address their front 7 with Reed as an outside linebacker. I’ve watched Reed for a few years at the University of Arizona and have great confidence he could transition well to stand up linebacker in a 3-4 from defensive end. Check out my exclusive interview with Brooks to find out more about this Arizona standout.

60) Torrey Smith, WR, Maryland – At first glance, Torrey Smith might not be a great fit for the Patriots. But, if you look closer, he would be a great choice at this point in the draft. Smith has elite speed and could develop into a solid receiver in the NFL.  He has the ability to be a playmaker down the field and “stretch the defense”. He possesses great leadership qualities, work ethic, and willingness to run block. He will need to work on maintaining speed throughout his cuts and ability to catch the ball in traffic. Never the less, he most certainly is a quality pick in the second round.

74) Marcus Gilchrist, Safety, Clemson - Gilchrist offers a lot of value for mid round selection. He is a very versatile player, who can be used as both corner and safety. He is a good size at 5’10 and 195 pounds. He has a high football IQ and many scouts describe him as the QuarterBack of the defense. He could develop into a very solid player at the next level.

92) DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma - Murray is one of my favorite players in this years draft class.I cannot think of a better fit for the Patriots. He is a jack-of-all-trades, versatile, playmaker that could make an immediate impact on our offense. His nagging injury concerns could scare many teams away from taking him too early but he seems like a great “value” here. He also can be a dangerous returner, which makes him all the more appealing.

125) Jeremy Beal, OLB, Oklahoma - Beal is another college defensive end converting to outside linebacker who would be an interesting prospect at this point in the draft. With the pass rush issues the Patriots have had over the past few seasons, it would make sense for Belichick to double dip in this area. Beal is a high motor guy with a strong football IQ. He also plays the run well and seems to make a play one way or another.

At this point, through my four round mock draft, the Patriots seem to address many “need” areas. The final rounds and draft selections are true wild cards for the team. In my opinion, drafting more offensive lineman for development would be a great move at this point. With offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia coaching these young players, the Pats could get a steal at some point later in the draft.

Have any thoughts on my mock? Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know how you feel? Which prospects do you like or dislike? Also, be sure to follow me on twitter!

 

 


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